Summer Camp Kids learn theater skills at Brewery Arts Center

Do a little dance. Sing a little song. Learn how to be an elephant?

It's all part of the curriculum at this summer's theater youth camp, "Carnival of the Animals," at the Brewery Arts Center.

Thirty-four active, bubbly and bouncing kids were learning the finer points of character movement and voice Wednesday. Tuesdays they work on acting and improvisation. Mask making and mime are penciled in for Thursday.

Rod Hearn, the infamous Captain Hook in the Brewery's production of Peter Pan, is back, this time helping the kids with acting and improvisation.

Thursday the kids will be creating their own "Bali" masks with Mary Bennett. A professional actor and play maker for 10 years, she has extensive experience in mask work and is a Nevada Artist in Residence.

Alisha Kaskie, an accomplished student of dance, teaches movement on Wednesdays, accompanied by Ann Libby, a singer and pianist who helps the kids hone their musical skills.

"I love being in the theater here. The arts are very much alive in Northern Nevada," Libby said.

A Carson City resident and alum of the Brewery's BAC Stage Kids, she has one more year at Western Nevada Community College before attending Fresno Pacific University to complete a major in English. She said she loves the theater and it will always be a part of her life, but not as a professional.

"I'm one of the few people I know who doesn't want to go to Broadway," she said with a smile.

She said working with the kids is fun, though they do get wound up sometimes and it can be aggravating.

What do the kids think of all this?

"Pretty cool," said 14-year-old Daytonite Jason Woolman.

"I've made a lot of new friends," said a poised 8-year-old, Amanda Drown, the smallest of the group.

Artistic Director Carol Scott said the course teaches more than dancing and singing.

"Not only do they learn to work together onstage, they develop learning skills they can use throughout life," she said. "In class everyone is involved and they learn to get along with different age groups.

"Here, as in life, things happen that aren't in the script and the kids learn to respond effectively," she said. "That builds self confidence and self esteem."

The summer camp concludes with a small production for parents Aug. 9, and in late February the group will perform with the Carson City Symphony. The children will portray animals, everything from elephants to fossils accompanied by the chords of Camille Saint-SSens "Carnival of the Animals," led by Symphony conductor David Bugli.

This year's classes are full, but it's never too early to start planning. Classes run three days a week from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and cost $230 for non-members and $190 for members.


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